the genealogy and history of the Bowdler family
The first Bowdler in Britain, Baldwin, came from Boelare in Flanders (Vlaanderen). He was a younger son of Stephen, Baron van Boelare. This Stephen is believed to have taken part in the first Crusade.
The seigniory-barony of Boelare was the territory of the 16 villages of Goeferdinge, Idegem, Nederboelare, Nieuwenhove, Onkerzele, Overboelare, Smeerebbe, Vloerzegem, Waarbeke, Grimminge, Moerbeke, Ophasselt, Schendelbeke, Viane, Zandbergen, Zarlardinge. The Barons van Boelare had their 'castle' at Nederboelare.
The Baronie van Boelare, together with the area known as Land van Aalst (containing the medieval town of Aalst/Geraadsbergen) now forms the modern town of Geraardsbergen, 20 miles west-southwest of Brussels.
Flanders, a former county in the Low Countries, extending along the North Sea and W of the Scheldt (Escaut) River. It is divided among East Flanders and West Flanders provs., Belgium; Nord and Pas-de-Calais depts., France; and (to a small extent) Zeeland prov., the Netherlands. The name Flanders is also used for all the Flemish (Dutch-speaking) areas of Belgium. Flanders varied considerably in size in the course of its history and at one time also included Artois and parts of Picardy. In Belgian Flanders, the Flemish language, a form of Dutch, is spoken by the majority of the inhabitants; the Flemish-speaking persons of Belgium and France are, by extension, known as Flemings.